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What’s all the Hoopla About? Cisco Fun!

Digital Hoopla Team Playing PoolThey’re not pool sharks. They’re not hard-core gamers. They’re not Forrest Gump at the ping-pong table. They are, however, out to have fun together in what they call the Digital Halftime Hoopla lunchtime competition. They’re Cisco’s Digital Strategy and Enablement (DSE) Team!

“The Halftime Hoopla is a friendly competition,” says Kate Spring, a program manager for the DSE Team and the brain-child of the Halftime Hoopla. “Well, maybe sometimes it can get kind of heated. We’re a competitive bunch!”

Competitive in a friendly way, with no skills required, rest assured.

“In this competition, you don’t need to be good, you just need to be enthusiastic,” says Jennifer Mitchell, a project manager for the DSE team and Kate’s partner-in-crime for managing the program.

The DSE team is made up of seven groups, but to round it out to an even number of teams, the eighth team consists of the DSE leadership. Each group chose their game-face moniker. For example, The Digital Experience team competes as U-X Factor. The Digital Services and Platforms Team plays as the Smooth Operators. And the leadership? They’re the Space Invaders. And the team everyone wants to beat. *wink*

Digital Hoopla Team Ping PongEach quarter finds the teams competing in something different in a different part of the San Jose campus. The first quarter was all about trying their skills at video games (Mario Kart!) in the video game room. Next came breaking in the pool table. The current challenge is Ping-Pong.

Teams play each other in a half hour slot during lunch, and team members sign up to play via the internal Jive community. There’s a whole point system, to make it as fair as possible, and an entirely made-up set of rules to keep it light and fun.

Their prize? Glory. Bragging Rights. And, of course, the hand-made trophy, that could be an Emmy for as much as the teams compete for it.

Digital Hoopla Trophy“Everyone wants that trophy,” Kate laughs. “It’s really coveted, and sometimes carried around the office.”

Sound like fun? Their building office mates agree. Other teams linger in the hallways to watch and see who wins, sometimes cheering them on, sometimes consoling them in defeat. You can even tune into the occasional Periscope live-stream of the competition. Sometimes, with the Twitter hashtag #DigitalHoopla, they’ll display their skills (or lack thereof) for the world to watch.

“It makes people play a little differently when they know they’re being watched live,” Jennifer jokes.

Now, the DSE team is taking their game to the streets – of the Cisco San Jose campus that is. They’re trying to find ways to make it fun for other teams as well. Employees, you might want to start thinking of your team name – they’re coming for you!

If you want to have fun where you work, perhaps a job at Cisco would be a good match! See open roles at Cisco Careers.



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4 Comments

  1. WOW!! This is exciting. Excellent way to engage and encourage.

  2. I was JUST thinking that I want to play too, Carmen! This sounds like such a great way to refuel energy levels throughout the workday.

  3. One of the benefits is that we break-down what could otherwise be silo's across teams, as we play each other. Another is that we get to engage and interact with each other in a fun and light (although competitive) activity that doesn't involve deliverables, budgets, and action items. It's a great way to really get to know each other in a different forum. Also: It might be taboo or uncomfortable to play billiards or ping-pong during work hours, especially of there are meeting or other actions competing for our time and attention, so we hold our "Halftime Hoopla" at lunchtime when we have free time and other groups can't point fingers at our 'frivolous' activity. Finally: We make our time at work more enjoyable. Playing, games, competition, interaction, socializing -- it makes us more human, less stressed, lowers barriers, increases our commitment to each other, and just plain enriches our work and our relationships and our lives -- and what could be more important than that? M.

    • Having fun at work is just as important as working at work. :) It's great that your team does this. (PS: I want to play!)